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Insights Daily Current Events, 22 December 2014

Insights Daily Current Events, 22 December 2014

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Just 17% of Indians have health coverage

Official data show that the number of people covered by health insurance in India could be far fewer than earlier calculations. The estimate was prepared by the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority

Details:

  • Only 21.62 crore people, or 17 per cent of the population, had health insurance at the end of March 2014.
  • The estimate is sharply lower than that projected by the World Bank. The World Bank estimated that over 30 crore people, or more than 25 per cent of the population, gained access to some form of health insurance by 2010, up from 5.5 crore during 2003-04. More than 18 crore of them were people living below the poverty line
  • Noting that health spending was one of the important causes of poverty in India, the report found that from 2007 to 2012, the government-sponsored schemes contributed to a significant increase in the population covered by health insurance, at a pace possibly unseen elsewhere in the world.
  • The report projected that more than 63 crore people, or about half the country’s population, could get health insurance by 2015. Spending through health insurance was forecast to reach 8.4 per cent of the total health spending, up from 6.4 per cent during 2009-10.

Sources: The Hindu.

Urban housing schemes at slow pace: panel

A Standing Committee on Urban Development has noted that the precious government’s housing programme, the Rajiv Awas Yojana (RAY) failed to take off due to lack of planning. The committee noted that even after three years, preparation work in the targeted 195 cities has not been achieved by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation.

The New government has promised Housing for all by 2022, relaunching the programme under the Sardar Patel National Mission for Urban Housing.

About Rajiv Awas Yojana:

Rajiv Awas Yojana (RAY) envisages a “Slum Free India” with inclusive and equitable cities in which every citizen has access to basic civic infrastructure and social amenities and decent shelter.

The Yojana focuses on:

  • Bringing all existing slums, notified or non-notified (including recognised and identified) within the formal system and enabling them to avail the basic amenities that is available for the rest of the city;
  • Redressing the failures of the formal system that lie behind the creation of slums by planning for affordable housing stock for the urban poor and initiating crucial policy changes required for facilitating the same.

Objectives:

  • Improving and provisioning of housing, basic civic infrastructure and social amenities in intervened slums.
  • Enabling reforms to address some of the causes leading to creation of slums.
  • Facilitating a supportive environment for expanding institutional credit linkages for the urban poor.
  • Institutionalizing mechanisms for prevention of slums including creation of affordable housing stock.
  • Strengthening institutional and human resource capacities at the Municipal, City and State levels through comprehensive capacity building and strengthening of resource networks.
  • Empowering community by ensuring their participation at every stage of decision making through strengthening and nurturing Slum Dwellers’ Association/Federations.

RAY is to be implemented in a mission mode and will provide financial support to States/UTs/Urban Local Bodies (ULBs)/Central Government Agencies. RAY will also extend financial support States for creation of affordable housing stock through public-private partnership (PPP) under the Affordable Housing in Partnership (AHP) component of the scheme.

Sources: The Hindu, mhupa.gov.in.

 

Non-farm incomes essential for farmers, says survey

The National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) findings from its 70th Situation of Agricultural Households in India for the agricultural year 2012-13 show that both small and big land-owners derive their income from a mix of farm and non-farm work now.

Other Findings:

  • In Kerala, non-agricultural wage employment is the most common principal source of income for farm households.
  • Incomes are expectedly directly proportional to area of the landholdings; the average farm household with less than one hectare of land makes less than Rs. 5,000 a month, while one with over 10 hectares makes over Rs. 40,000 a month.
  • One in three farm households has less than 0.4 hectares of land and less than 0.5 per cent are large farmers, having over 10 hectares of land. Large farmers are often absentee landlords, the data indicate; 54 per cent of the farmers with over 10 hectares possess land in other States.
  • Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe farm households were over-represented among the poorest classes with the smallest landholdings. Large farmers were almost exclusively of the Other Backward Classes or the upper caste.
  • While wheat is the most commonly grown crop in the first half of the year, paddy dominates the second half. In both seasons, however, sugarcane is the most profitable crop, giving its cultivator an average of over Rs. 80,000 a season.
  • Private traders dominate the procurement space, and few farmers have enough information about minimum support prices or report getting them for their produce.

 Sources: The Hindu.

 

Crony capitalism running India

The former Chief Election Commissioner has told that the sources of nearly the entire money spent during elections in the country are not known and crony capitalism is running the country.

  • He said that only 20 per cent of the source of funding to any political party is known. Election Commission do not know the nature of the remaining 80% funding. There are also chances that these funds might be coming from mafias or may be related to drugs or crimes or corporate funding.
  • He also said that it is crony capitalism led by corporates which is running the country. They get their bureaucrats their ministers appointed.

Funding of political parties by the government is expected to help in this regard.

Crony capitalism is a term describing an economy in which success in business depends on close relationships between business people and government officials. It may be exhibited by favouritism in the distribution of legal permits, government grants, special tax breaks, or other forms of state interventionism.

Sources: The Hindu, Wiki.